Microsoft Ratchets Up Enterprise Support With High-End Service Plan

Microsoft announced its new Microsoft Services Premier Ultimate support service Monday. The new plan joins the Microsoft Services Premiere Support line of offerings with an enterprise-class support system.

The Premier Ultimate service bundle is aimed at enterprise customers willing to dig deep to pursue a proactive support strategy concentrated on attaining and maintaining IT health, according to Microsoft.

IDC recommends that vendors provide preventive and proactive support services to help customers minimize downtime and to ensure consistent availability of their business-critical processes,” Elaina Stergiades, a senior research analyst at IDC, told TechNewsWorld.

“Microsoft is doing just that with Premier Ultimate, highlighting the industry shift toward deeper, more collaborative support relationships with customers, she added.

Full Availability

The new service level combines unlimited problem resolution support with other bundled Premier features, including proactive IT health assessments, account management (both on-site and dedicated) and full-time on-site support.

Companies can mix and match their services to develop the IT support package that best suits their needs. The level of customization in the three-year contracts means that pricing is no longer static for all customers but instead varies based on the services chosen.

“Premier Ultimate is yet another step in the evolution of software support services. As IT departments focus on the availability of technology supporting their business processes, software support becomes less about fixing what is broken and more about preventing problems from occurring in the first place,” Stergiades said.

Microsoft Premier Support includes a specific focus on preventative tools that can help businesses avoid situations that result in software defect issues and downtime, Stergiades explained. In addition, the unlimited hours of problem resolution support is new ground for Microsoft and indicates that the company is taking on some risk as part of this offering, she pointed out.

Depends on Roll-Out

While the new offering has the potential to rile some of Microsoft’s channel partners, Stergiades said that their response largely depends on how the software maker handles the Ultimate Premier services launch.

“Any time a change is made to services offerings, vendors run the risk of angering their channel partners. However, we believe that the execution of the roll-out will largely determine how partners are affected by this offering. In addition, Microsoft has historically handled these situations with minimal problems and disruptions,” she noted.

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